May 11, 2021

Alonso doubts Alpine will repeat top-six places in qualifying | 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso was encouraged by the progress Alpine showed in Friday practice at the Autodromo do Algarve, but doubts they will repeat their top-six performance on Saturday.

The two-times world champion ended the day fifth-quickest, a hundredth of a second faster than team mate Esteban Ocon.

“It was good,” he said. “I think we were happy with the with the car today. Obviously, it’s only Friday but we were comfortable from lap one and we didn’t touch much the set-up because everything felt reasonably OK.”

Alonso is competing at the Algarve circuit for the first time in his career. “We tried to put some laps just for me to get used to the track and to know a little bit more about the tyres,” he explained. “The asphalt seems a little bit different compared to last year so we had to review a little bit of the data that we had from the tyres. Generally a happy Friday but still more to come tomorrow.”

But having ended the day less than four-tenths of a second slower than Lewis Hamilton’s pace-setting Mercedes, Alonso doubts the team will replicate that form on Saturday.

“We have to wait and see tomorrow,” he said. “I think the positions will not be too different compared to Imola or to Bahrain.

“I don’t think that there is any any big changes in the order it’s just a different Friday, a different approach, maybe compared [to other] teams. But let’s see. Fingers crossed that we can keep this this pace tomorrow.”

Alonso enjoyed his first experience of the Algarve circuit, which features very steep changes in elevation. “The track is good, actually, to drive it felt good and felt enjoyable every lap.

“There’s some blind corners that when people are doing a slow-fast, slow-fast, it’s a bit of risk when you don’t see the cars in front. But I guess in the race, we don’t do that technique anymore and it’s going to be fun. Hopefully we see some overtaking with the double DRS this year.”

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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